Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

15 September 2020

4 Steps to Organized Files

Are you ready for more organized files? Is it time to stop searching, and searching, for that one document you need right now, but can never find. How many times are you going to recreate a form because you can’t find the original? It’s frustrating and all that searching is just wasting time you could spend doing something you actually like to do. (unless you’re me, who loves organizing files ūüôā )

So now’s the time to get organized! Check out my Four Steps to Organized Files. It seems like a lot of information, but don’t worry, you don’t have to complete the process in a single day. Instead, take 10 – 15 minutes a day to tackle the folders and files and before you know it, you’re on your way to a better organized system that allows you to be more productive (and gives you more time for you!).

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Determine Your File Structure

How do you want your files to be arranged? Are you separating business from personal files? What about your financial files? Are they different for business versus personal? A flat structure – one with fewer subfolders – is the best place to start.

When you are first determining your file structure, think big categories like Marketing, Continuing Education, Financials, etc. As you add files into these folders, you will begin to see where you need subfolders. Don’t worry about getting your structure right the first time. Your file structure is a living document that gets fine-tuned as you go.

Step 2: Gather Your Files

¬†Where do your files hang out? You might be surprised how far-flung your documents are. Check out your cloud storage sites like Dropbox, Google Drive, (don’t forget OneDrive!), current and old computers, USB drives, external hard drives, and wherever else you can think they could be hiding. Don’t forget to check for documents you may be sharing with someone else.¬†

Step 3: Find Your New Home

Once you’ve got all your documents accounted for, determine what is going to live where (and if there is actually room for those documents there). It may not be realistic to have everything in one location. Cloud storage offers you easy access regardless of where you are, but many people are only on one computer, so remote access isn’t that big of an issue.

Do you need to share documents with others? This may be another reason to consider cloud storage in addition to or in place of computer storage. Regardless of where you put your documents, make sure they can be backed up for the greatest security.

Step 4: Move Documents

You’ve created your structure in the new location, now is the time to move your documents. Don’t forget to be cautious with those shared documents in cloud storage. These are ones you might not be able to move right away or be able to move at all based on how and who is doing the sharing. Once you have your documents moved to their new homes, make sure your backup system is in place to provide peace of mind and protection for all that hard work you’ve done!

You’re done! How’s it feel to be in charge of your documents, rather than letting them run your day? Better good, right? Now it’s time to keep up what you worked so hard to achieve. Make sure you are creating and saving documents in the ‘right place’.

Do you have time for an extra step? Run a duplicate file finder program. Check out an earlier Ilios Blog Post for suggestions!

Need some assistance organizing your files? Looking for more in-depth instructions on how to get started? Let’s talk! Schedule your Discovery Conversation today!

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Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

1 March 2023

Are You Seeing Double?

Are you having trouble sticking with a task that you find boring or cumbersome? Like clearing out your email backlog or moving a mess of files into folders. You know how to do it, it’s just making the time to do it. Especially when you’d rather do anything else. So the project sits, unfinished.

This is the reality for many of my clients. And one of the reasons I encourage the use of Action Sessions – a dedicated time together to tackle the “boring” tasks with someone holding you accountable.

That accountability is a big deal for me. Like many people, I tend to get more work done when I know someone is watching me work. It’s why I love having an accountability partner and participating in co-working sessions – they are both forms of body doubling.

Body doubling is a productivity/accountability trick where you have someone present to keep you focused on your task. Your body double may sit there quietly and watch you work, or maybe they are working on their own task while you work on yours. Some body doubles even may carry on a conversation with you while you do a more mindless task like cleaning out your sock drawer. The best thing? Body doubling can be done virtually as well as in person!

How to ADHD” has a great video about body doubling on YouTube that explains the concept.¬† Or give me a call and we can talk about the benefits. And if you’re one of my clients and you’re still trying to tackle that overloaded inbox, let’s get an Action Session scheduled so we can get that task finished.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

13 April 2022

Decluttering vs Minimalism

9 March 2022

Decreasing the noise of daily life

It can be hard to think about minimalism in the noise and rush of our busy lives. There’s always something else to do, listen to, or respond to. Our phones go off at all hours of the day, demanding our attention.  I give my husband a hard time because he has email notifications on and I’ll be just about ready to fall asleep when ‘bing’, a new email from Amazon or Ebay or someone like that.

Part of our journey towards digital minimalism involves downsizing and streamlining. App notifications – both phone and computer – are an easy place to make those changes.

Now, there are some notifications we definitely need – text messages are usually on that list, especially for parents. But there are a lot of notifications we can remove from our daily schedule. Do you really need to be pinged when an email comes in or are you checking email on your own schedule? How about this week’s cookie notification from Crumbl? Or an alert when the litter box is full?

(That last one  is a definite yes for me!)

Digital minimalism looks different for each of us. When minimizing notifications, it’s up to each of us to stop and think about why we need to be notified, what purpose the notification is serving, and what we do because of the notification. (How we respond is key¬†to finding our distraction points during the day) Then we can make deliberate decisions about what stays and what goes.

How is your journey into digital minimalism going? Any surprises? Anything I can do to support you?

19 January 2022

The first step is awareness

After our talk last week about digital minimalism, I had a reader mention the phrase ‘attention management’ when it comes to working with intent. It’s a great phrase because, with our digital life, so much of what we do is mindless.

This is especially true when it comes to surfing and Internet usage. How many times have you fallen down an Internet rabbit hole? Or turned on your phone just to kill time while waiting?

We all get caught up sometimes, and the first part of minimizing your digital use is figuring out how you actually use your time. I use a great software called RescueTime that tracks your digital activity across all devices it is installed on – phone, computer, Internet, and tablet. The software allows me to see, for example, that I spent 15 minutes playing Alien Hive on my phone last night when I could swear it was only a couple of minutes before bedtime.

I’ve written an App Review on RescueTime before, which you can find here: App Review – RescueTime

Check it out. It’s a great tool to try as we work on digital minimalism.

Questions? Let me know! Otherwise, I’ll see you next time!

12 January 2022

Starting with Digital Minimalism

We all want a more peaceful life. Less stress, less clutter. The minimalists out there say the way there is through less stuff and more intention.

There are Instagram feeds and Facebook groups devoted to decluttering your kitchen, your closet, any part of your house. But in a world full of tech and information streams and social media, what does digital minimalism look like?

It’s more than just organizing your files or purging your email. More than giving up Facebook for a month or two. Digital minimalism is about being intentional with how you spend your time online. Intentional with what you consume and how you consume it.

Cal Newport, the writer of “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a focused life in a noisy world”,¬† defines digital minimalism as “a philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.”

Easy enough to say. But not necessarily easy to do.¬† There’s a lot of noise out there and a lot of suggestions of what to do to embrace digital minimalism.¬† A lot of discussion about how much minimalism is enough.

According to research, you’re likely to check email and chat every 6 minutes, spend 4 hours or so on your phone a day, and use something like 50 or more tools and apps a day.  Few of us want to give up technology and all the great things the Internet has to offer. But there is a way to minimize your tech without giving everything up.

How to turn down the noise and surf with intent is going to be our focus for the next couple of months.¬† We’ll talk about apps, notifications, values, and goals as they relate to digital minimalism.

Stay tuned for more details!

Want to get this information in your inbox? Click to sign up for the Ilios Digital newsletter!

29 September 2021

Why Inbox Zero Won’t Fix Your Email Problems

How many times are you checking your email each day? Either because you’re bored or because you’re trying to stay on top of your unread count? How much spam are you getting? Cat memes you didn’t ask for (but why not, they’re about cats!), and messages you didn’t need to be cc’d on. That’s not including all the newsletters and ads you subscribed to at one point.

The business world runs on email.

Love it or hate it, you can’t leave it behind or pretend it doesn’t exist.¬† But beyond basic communication, email can be just as much of a distraction as it is a tool.¬†This is where Inbox Zero comes in.

You’ve heard of Inbox Zero, right? It’s a productivity hack, a system that was developed as a way of managing email clutter and distractions.¬†The goal is to keep the inbox empty – or nearly empty – at all times.¬†Inbox zero. It’s a great goal, one that a lot of people work hard to maintain on a daily basis. This is not about those people.

This is about other people. Those whose inbox will fill up with emails, into the thousands, and they’ll set aside a day to try and achieve Inbox Zero through mass deletions and processing.¬† It’s a one day blitz and after achieving their goal, and celebrating, the user goes back to business as usual.

Using Inbox Zero this way is just like putting your inbox on a diet.

The problem with so many diets out there is that they are focused only on achieving the result. Drink this shake and lose 10 pounds. Try this meal plan for a month and lose 15 pounds. The thought is you go on a diet, then eventually you go off a diet and return to your normal life. With this approach, there’s no permanent change in how you behave. Once you’re off the diet you go back to living the behaviors that got you there in the first place.¬†

Too many people use Inbox Zero like a diet for your inbox. They focus on getting the result – zero emails – thinking this will solve all their email problems.¬† But an inbox diet isn’t the answer to email management. Better habits are.

So what can you do today to better manage your email?

  1. Make a decision about that email the first time you read it – action item, reference item, or trash. Read and react.
  2. Create filters to keep your inbox uncluttered. Get those urgent items front and center instead of hidden in the spam.
  3. Set specific times to check emails and turn off your notifications. Theses dings and flags interrupt your workflow and decrease your productivity.
  4. Be the change you want to see in the world. Send the type of messages you want to receive and model positive email behavior to others.

And remember, better email management is a lifestyle change, not a diet. Instead of chasing the goal of trying to get down to zero emails in your inbox, focus on building better habits as the way to manage your inbox and incoming email!

Need help getting your email under control? Call me and let’s talk about how!

Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

1 March 2023

Are You Seeing Double?

Are you having trouble sticking with a task that you find boring or cumbersome? Like clearing out your email backlog or moving a mess of files into folders. You know how to do it, it’s just making the time to do it. Especially when you’d rather do anything else. So the project sits, unfinished.

This is the reality for many of my clients. And one of the reasons I encourage the use of Action Sessions – a dedicated time together to tackle the “boring” tasks with someone holding you accountable.

That accountability is a big deal for me. Like many people, I tend to get more work done when I know someone is watching me work. It’s why I love having an accountability partner and participating in co-working sessions – they are both forms of body doubling.

Body doubling is a productivity/accountability trick where you have someone present to keep you focused on your task. Your body double may sit there quietly and watch you work, or maybe they are working on their own task while you work on yours. Some body doubles even may carry on a conversation with you while you do a more mindless task like cleaning out your sock drawer. The best thing? Body doubling can be done virtually as well as in person!

How to ADHD” has a great video about body doubling on YouTube that explains the concept.¬† Or give me a call and we can talk about the benefits. And if you’re one of my clients and you’re still trying to tackle that overloaded inbox, let’s get an Action Session scheduled so we can get that task finished.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

13 April 2022

Decluttering vs Minimalism

9 March 2022

Decreasing the noise of daily life

It can be hard to think about minimalism in the noise and rush of our busy lives. There’s always something else to do, listen to, or respond to. Our phones go off at all hours of the day, demanding our attention.  I give my husband a hard time because he has email notifications on and I’ll be just about ready to fall asleep when ‘bing’, a new email from Amazon or Ebay or someone like that.

Part of our journey towards digital minimalism involves downsizing and streamlining. App notifications – both phone and computer – are an easy place to make those changes.

Now, there are some notifications we definitely need – text messages are usually on that list, especially for parents. But there are a lot of notifications we can remove from our daily schedule. Do you really need to be pinged when an email comes in or are you checking email on your own schedule? How about this week’s cookie notification from Crumbl? Or an alert when the litter box is full?

(That last one  is a definite yes for me!)

Digital minimalism looks different for each of us. When minimizing notifications, it’s up to each of us to stop and think about why we need to be notified, what purpose the notification is serving, and what we do because of the notification. (How we respond is key¬†to finding our distraction points during the day) Then we can make deliberate decisions about what stays and what goes.

How is your journey into digital minimalism going? Any surprises? Anything I can do to support you?

19 January 2022

The first step is awareness

After our talk last week about digital minimalism, I had a reader mention the phrase ‘attention management’ when it comes to working with intent. It’s a great phrase because, with our digital life, so much of what we do is mindless.

This is especially true when it comes to surfing and Internet usage. How many times have you fallen down an Internet rabbit hole? Or turned on your phone just to kill time while waiting?

We all get caught up sometimes, and the first part of minimizing your digital use is figuring out how you actually use your time. I use a great software called RescueTime that tracks your digital activity across all devices it is installed on – phone, computer, Internet, and tablet. The software allows me to see, for example, that I spent 15 minutes playing Alien Hive on my phone last night when I could swear it was only a couple of minutes before bedtime.

I’ve written an App Review on RescueTime before, which you can find here: App Review – RescueTime

Check it out. It’s a great tool to try as we work on digital minimalism.

Questions? Let me know! Otherwise, I’ll see you next time!

12 January 2022

Starting with Digital Minimalism

We all want a more peaceful life. Less stress, less clutter. The minimalists out there say the way there is through less stuff and more intention.

There are Instagram feeds and Facebook groups devoted to decluttering your kitchen, your closet, any part of your house. But in a world full of tech and information streams and social media, what does digital minimalism look like?

It’s more than just organizing your files or purging your email. More than giving up Facebook for a month or two. Digital minimalism is about being intentional with how you spend your time online. Intentional with what you consume and how you consume it.

Cal Newport, the writer of “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a focused life in a noisy world”,¬† defines digital minimalism as “a philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.”

Easy enough to say. But not necessarily easy to do.¬† There’s a lot of noise out there and a lot of suggestions of what to do to embrace digital minimalism.¬† A lot of discussion about how much minimalism is enough.

According to research, you’re likely to check email and chat every 6 minutes, spend 4 hours or so on your phone a day, and use something like 50 or more tools and apps a day.  Few of us want to give up technology and all the great things the Internet has to offer. But there is a way to minimize your tech without giving everything up.

How to turn down the noise and surf with intent is going to be our focus for the next couple of months.¬† We’ll talk about apps, notifications, values, and goals as they relate to digital minimalism.

Stay tuned for more details!

Want to get this information in your inbox? Click to sign up for the Ilios Digital newsletter!

29 September 2021

Why Inbox Zero Won’t Fix Your Email Problems

How many times are you checking your email each day? Either because you’re bored or because you’re trying to stay on top of your unread count? How much spam are you getting? Cat memes you didn’t ask for (but why not, they’re about cats!), and messages you didn’t need to be cc’d on. That’s not including all the newsletters and ads you subscribed to at one point.

The business world runs on email.

Love it or hate it, you can’t leave it behind or pretend it doesn’t exist.¬† But beyond basic communication, email can be just as much of a distraction as it is a tool.¬†This is where Inbox Zero comes in.

You’ve heard of Inbox Zero, right? It’s a productivity hack, a system that was developed as a way of managing email clutter and distractions.¬†The goal is to keep the inbox empty – or nearly empty – at all times.¬†Inbox zero. It’s a great goal, one that a lot of people work hard to maintain on a daily basis. This is not about those people.

This is about other people. Those whose inbox will fill up with emails, into the thousands, and they’ll set aside a day to try and achieve Inbox Zero through mass deletions and processing.¬† It’s a one day blitz and after achieving their goal, and celebrating, the user goes back to business as usual.

Using Inbox Zero this way is just like putting your inbox on a diet.

The problem with so many diets out there is that they are focused only on achieving the result. Drink this shake and lose 10 pounds. Try this meal plan for a month and lose 15 pounds. The thought is you go on a diet, then eventually you go off a diet and return to your normal life. With this approach, there’s no permanent change in how you behave. Once you’re off the diet you go back to living the behaviors that got you there in the first place.¬†

Too many people use Inbox Zero like a diet for your inbox. They focus on getting the result – zero emails – thinking this will solve all their email problems.¬† But an inbox diet isn’t the answer to email management. Better habits are.

So what can you do today to better manage your email?

  1. Make a decision about that email the first time you read it – action item, reference item, or trash. Read and react.
  2. Create filters to keep your inbox uncluttered. Get those urgent items front and center instead of hidden in the spam.
  3. Set specific times to check emails and turn off your notifications. Theses dings and flags interrupt your workflow and decrease your productivity.
  4. Be the change you want to see in the world. Send the type of messages you want to receive and model positive email behavior to others.

And remember, better email management is a lifestyle change, not a diet. Instead of chasing the goal of trying to get down to zero emails in your inbox, focus on building better habits as the way to manage your inbox and incoming email!

Need help getting your email under control? Call me and let’s talk about how!